CSU-ERFA California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association.

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CSU-ERFA News & Views

Please note that the summaries of news items posted on this page do not necessarily represent the official positions of CSU-ERFA or its affiliates.  Links contained within the summaries may take you to the original news sources.  CSU-ERFA is not responsible for the content of linked articles and cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of those articles.

May 2017

Don't play too much golf.  Two rounds a day are plenty.  ~Harry Vardon


The June 2017 issue of the Reporter includes a web-only extra - a review by CSU-ERFA President Bill Blischke of Tressie McMillan Cottom's book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the new economy.

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CalPERS recently released the following letter to members regarding problems with the transition to the OptumRx Pharmacy Benefits Manager [ed. note: some minor typos have been corrected]:

We’re Working to Improve Your OptumRx Experience

May 2017

 

 Dear Valued Member:

As you know, we launched OptumRx as CalPERS new pharmacy benefi[ts] manager on January 1 to replace CVS Caremark. As with any major change within an organization the size of CalPERS, we expected a few bumps along the transition road.

However, we recognize that a number of issues have negatively impacted our members who rely on OptumRx to provide their prescription drug services. We want to assure you that we are working hard to improve customer service and your OptumRx experience.

We  have  listened  to  your  concerns  and  taken  some  immediate  steps  to  address  them.

          OptumRx will add approximately 100 additional “Select90/Preferred90” retail pharmacies in California’s rural, suburban, and urban areas in June 2017. More members in areas where a  Walgreens pharmacy is not available will soon have easier access to a 90-day supply of maintenance medications in retail pharmacies.

 

          OptumRx has expanded its dedicated call center staffi[ng] to reduce wait times and improve customer service.

 

          CalPERS health team provided training to OptumRx’s customer service representatives to help them better understand CalPERS benefi[ts] and how the Medicare Part D plans are administered.

 

          At our request, OptumRx appointed a customer service manager to work directly with the CalPERS health senior leadership team to resolve call center and customer service issues.

 

          OptumRx enhanced its Prior Authorization review process for Medicare members to increase the approval rate for prescription drugs to which members previously had access.

          CalPERS is placing some Medicare specialty drugs in a lower cost tier.

          The CalPERS health team continues to hold daily meetings with OptumRx staff to resolve issues, especially in the area of customer service and clinical programs.

 

The following resources are available should you have questions concerning your OptumRx pharmacy benefi[ts]

 

OptumRx Customer Service: Medicare/EGWP: (855) 505-8106  Basic: (855) 505-8110 TTY service: 711

BriovaRx Specialty Pharmacy: (855) 821-7217

Prior Authorization Fax: (800) 527-0531

OptumRx Website: www.optumrx.com/calpers


We want to thank you for your comments, and we promise to continue to diligently work to improve the service and your experience with OptumRx.

CalPERS Health Team

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Our links page has been updated and now includes links to all the current CalPERS health plans and to the OptumRX prescription benefit plan.

In addition we added a link to mattress and bedding information for those with disabilities.

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Donations to the CSU-ERFA Charitable Foundation received by June 30, 2017 will be matched dollar for dollar.

The CSU-ERFA Charitable Foundation recently received another $500 challenge grant from a CSU-ERFA member.  The donor will match all individual donations received by the foundation through June 30, 2017 up to a total of $500.

The CSU-ERFA Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that provides competitive grants to CSU-ERFA members to support their research and scholarly activities.  Donations in any amount from both CSU-ERFA members and the general public are welcomed.  Donations to the foundation generally are deductible from state and federal income taxes.

You may donate by sending a check to the CSU-ERFA Charitable Foundation at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8339.

CSU-ERFA members also have the option of setting up a regular monthly donation to the foundation from their CalPERS pension warrant. 

In either case, please download and fill out our donation agreement form.

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March 2017


Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.  ~Herbert Asquith


The term of the current retiree member of the statewide CSU Academic Senate (ASCSU) will end on June 30, 2017. This position is open to all CSU faculty retirees. However, the final selection of the ASCSU retiree member is made by the State Council the CSU-ERFA. Please read the following information if you are interested in applying for this position.

All CSU faculty retirees are eligible to be selected and to serve as the CSU faculty retiree on the ASCSU . (The CSU faculty retiree is a voting member of the ASCSU).

Nominations including self-nominations must be made by CSU retirees and must be submitted to the CSU-ERFA office no later than March 29, 2017. They must be submitted by email to csuerfa@csun.edu. They must include the following:

1. A statement that the nominee is a CSU faculty retiree, will serve the three-year term as the retiree member of the ASCSU if selected, and is aware that he/she will be invited to prepare reports to CSU-ERFA on issues of interest and concern to the ASCSU and the CSU. Such reports may appear in the CSU-ERFA Reporter.

2.A brief resume for the nominee indicating educational background; academic and/or administrative service in the CSU; and experience in academic governance at campus and/or system level.

3. A statement describing why the nominee would be an appropriate choice for this position.

4. At least three references; telephone numbers and email addresses of the references are required.

5. Any additional material that may be helpful to the Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee will make its recommendation to State Council delegates by April 3, 2017, and the State Council will makes its decision at its meeting of April 15, 2017. The faculty retiree will serve a three year term beginning on July 1, 2017.

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February 2017


Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.  ~Herbert Asquith


The upcoming March 2017 issue of the Reporter includes a web-only extra - a review by CSU-ERFA President Bill Blischke of Sara Goldbrick-Rab's popular book Paying the Price - College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.

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In December 2016 Sam Johnson (R, Texas), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee subcommittee on Social Security unveiled a plan to "permanently save Social Security." Analysis of this plan by Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times suggested that this was achieved entirely by benefit cuts. Johnson's plan would not raise any additional revenue for Social Security.

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January 2017


Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.  ~Herbert Asquith


A reminder for those members now covered by the OptumRX prescription drug plan - in addition to using the OptumRX mail order pharmacy, you can obtain a 90-day supply of your medications at a Walgreen's pharmacy for the same co-pay as obtaining them from the mail-order pharmacy. Ninety-day supplies of most generics will have a co-pay of $10 or less, and 90-day supplies of approved brand-name drugs will have a $40 co-pay.

OptumRX also has agreements with several other pharmacies, including CVS, that also allow you to pick up 90-day supplies of your medications.  However, the co-pays will be higher than at Walgreen's - $15 for most generics, and $60 for approved brand name medications.

Obtaining your medications at a local pharmacy has some advantages.  These include not having to worry about package thefts or delays, not having heat-sensitive medications out in the sun for extended periods of time on hot days, and having the opportunity to talk to a pharmacist if you have questions about your medications.

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A recent New York Times article on fake news references a classic work by CSU Fullerton professor Julian Foster and his colleagues that debunked the book None Dare Call it Treason, by John A. Stormer. Foster and his colleagues showed in a pamphlet entitled None Dare Call it Reason that many of the 800+ citations listed in Stormer's book were used in ways that could be considered distorted.

Jim Dwyer, who authored the N.Y. Times article, thanked CSU Fullerton's Pollak Library archivist Patricia Prestinary for providing a copy of None Dare Call it Reason.

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The CalPERS Board of Administration voted on December 21, 2016 to lower the discount rate for the CalPERS pension fund from 7.5% to 7.0% over the next three years. This is a less drastic cut in the discount rate than had been mentioned in a number news stories late last year.

The CalPERS news release states that:

The discount rate changes approved by the Board for the next three Fiscal Years (FY) are as follows:

  • FY 2017-2018:     7.375%
  • FY 2018-2019:     7.25%
  • FY 2019-2020:     7.00%

In addition, the Board approved separate timelines for implementing the new rate for state, school, and public agencies. The new discount rate for the state would go into effect July 1, 2017. The new discount rate for the school districts and public agencies would take effect July 1, 2018. The difference allows schools and public agencies additional time to plan for rate increases.

As a result of these changes in the discount rate, most non-safety employers, including the CSU, will see increases in the contributions that they are required to make to CalPers by 1% to 3%. In addition, employees hired after the changes go into effect will see their pension contributions increase.

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December 2016


Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.  ~Herbert Asquith


An article by Robert Fay in the December 11, 2016 edition of the Atlantic reminds us that there is wisdom to be found in the letters of aging writers - in this case, the letters of Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, and Elizabeth Bishop. The article also reminds us that the art of contemplation has suffered in our transition from letter-writing to electronic communication.

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An article by Randy Diamond in the November 28th issue of Pensions and Investments reports that CalPERS may reduce it's target rate of return on investments from 7.5% to 6.0%. This fairly drastic change would be in response to market projections that suggest that over the coming decade investment returns are likely to be lower on average than the current CalPERS target of 7.5%.

Under these market conditions, achieving a 7.5% rate of return would require the pension fund to invest more heavily in equities, which would also increase investment risk. Lowering the assumed rate of return would be accomplished by reducing the exposure to equities and increasing holdings in lower-risk fixed-income investments.

According to the article, the decision to make this move could come as early as February 2017. The effect of such a move would have a significant impact on the employers that contribute to the CalPERS pension fund. To make up for reduced investment returns, the employers (state and local agencies) would have to contribute more to CalPERS in order to cover pension obligations. This burden would be more difficult for smaller entities such as some cities and rural counties to meet.

It would be likely that current employees would be asked to contribute more to the pension fund, or to accept lower pension benefits, or to make higher contributions to their health plan costs. Under current law, retirees' pension benefits cannot be reduced; however, increased retiree contributions to health benefit costs is a possibility.

We will keep you informed of any decisions by CalPERS to change their target rate of return.

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As you may know, CalPERS automatically reimburses the basic Medicare Part B monthly premium (whicIh will be $134.00 for 2017) for its retirees who are in Medicare.  What you may not know is that if you are subject to the Income-Related Monthly Medicare Adjustment Amount (the IRMAA) because your annual total adjusted income exceeds certain limits, you may be eligible to have part or all of the IRMAA reimbursed by CalPERS as well.

The amount of additional reimbursement will depend on how much excess money is available from the monthly health insurance contribution made by the CSU for CSU retirees.  This will vary depending on how many of your dependents, if any, are enrolled in CalPERS basic or supplemental health plans.

If you think you may be eligible for reimbursement for all or part of your IRMAA, you have to notify CalPERS in writing.  Include in your letter to CalPERS a copy of your annual letter from the Social Security Administration describing your benefits for the coming calendar year.  This will include the amount of your IRMAA. (The letter for 2017 was sent to Social Security recipients in late November 2016.)

Mail your request to

CalPERS Member Account Management Division
Attention: Medicare Administration
P.O. Box 942715
Sacramento, CA 94229-2715

Within a few weeks you should receive a response from CalPERS, which indicates the amount of additional Part B reimbursement you will receive for 2017.  Note that it can take from 30 to 90 days before the additional reimbursement begins to appear in your retirement check or deposit.  The reimbursement will cover the entire year, so you may also see a lump sum payment for the prior months.

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October 2016


Retire from work, but not from life.  ~M.K. Soni


CSU-ERFA Reporter editor Ted Anagnoson recently prepared an analysis of each of the Propositions on the November 8, 2016 general election ballot, along with his recommendations. Note - CSU-ERFA has not taken a position on any of the propositions on the November 8th ballot. You can download Ted's analysis and recommendations here.

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September 2016


Retire from work, but not from life.  ~M.K. Soni


The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) was named today the 2016 Sustainable Business of the Year by the Business Environmental Resource Center (BERC), which recognizes top environmentally proactive Sacramento-area businesses whose work practices demonstrate an outstanding commitment to enhancing sustainability.

CalPERS' water conservation efforts garnered the attention of BERC, and included a cooling tower recapture project that netted 1.7 million gallons of water. Also noted in the award citation was the replacement of approximately 40,000 square feet of sod with drought tolerant artificial turf and sustainable materials at CalPERS' Lincoln Plaza North building and along R Street behind the Lincoln Plaza East/West buildings.

More information about CalPERS' conservation efforts can be found here.

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A CSU-ERFA Soles4Souls pilot project at CSU Dominguez Hills collected 2,568 pairs of used shoes, which will be distributed through micro-enterprises in developing countries by the Soles4Soles Charity.

The pilot project was carried out during a two-month period this past semester at the Dominguez Hills campus. A full report on the results of the pilot project is available for download.

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July 2016

One of the problems of retirement is that it gives you more time to read about the problems of retirement. ~Author unknown.
 

 


CalPERS Health Plans Open Enrollment 2016: The open enrollment period for CalPERS health plans will begin on September 12, 2016, and will end on October 7, 2016. Those of you who have elected to continue receiving health plan open enrollment information by mail should receive it prior to the start of the open enrollment period.  If you haven't received your information packet by a week or so before the start of open enrollment, call CalPERS at 1-888-225-7377 to request a packet.

Those of you who did not send a written notice to CalPERS electing to continue receiving open enrollment information by mail, will need to log on to your my|CalPERS account to view the open enrollment information.  If you don't already have a my|CalPERS account, this would be a good time to create one.

The account setup procedure is relatively straight-forward.  Go to my.calpers.ca.gov and select "Participant" on the Pre-Login page, then select "Continue," then select "Register Now" and follow the prompts.  (If you run into any difficulty, call CalPERS at 1-888225-7377 for assistance or contact us.)

If you are thinking about changing your health plan coverage for next year, CalPERS already has posted rate information for the plans that will be available for 2017; and you can find that information on your my|CalPERS page.

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May 2015

One of the problems of retirement is that it gives you more time to read about the problems of retirement. ~Author unknown.
 

 


Former CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro was sentenced by a federal judge today (May 31, 2016) to four and 1/2 years in prison in a case in which he acknowledged accepting bribes and trying to steer investments to help an associate according to an article in Salon.

Buenrostro pleaded guilty two years ago to accepting bribes to persuade CalPERS staff members to make investment decisions that helped former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos who at the time was working as an investment manager. Villalobos committed suicide in January of 2015.

Buenrostro's sentencing brings to a close the most serious scandal to hit CalPERS in recent memory. As a result of the scandal, CalPERS has instituted numerous safeguards to prevent similar actions in the future.

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CalPERS selects new Pharmacy Benefits Manager for 2017. CalPERS has signed a five-year contract with OptumRX to administer prescription drug benefits for all CalPERS health plans with the exception of Kaiser and Blue Shield of California HMOs starting January 1, 2017.

The plans affected are PERS Select, PERS Choice, and PERSCare PPO plans, and Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Sharp, and UnitedHealthcare HMO plans.

CalPERS issued the following news release regarding the change on May 18, 2016:

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced that it selected OptumRX as its new Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). The company will administer prescription drug benefits for nearly 486,000 members and their dependents enrolled in all of CalPERS' health plans with the exception of the Kaiser and Blue Shield of California Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans.

The five-year contract – worth an estimated $4.9 billion – takes effect January 1, 2017, and ends December 31, 2021. It will cover pharmacy benefits for members enrolled in CalPERS' self-funded PERS Select, PERS Choice, and PERSCare Preferred Provider Organization health plans, as well as for those enrolled in the Anthem Blue Cross, HealthNet, Sharp, and UnitedHealthcare HMO plans.

OptumRx, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and has connections to more than 67,000 pharmacies nationwide. It will replace CalPERS' current PBM, CVS Caremark, whose contract expires December 31, 2016. CVS has held the PBM contract since January 1, 2012.

OptumRx was one of three finalists in a competitive bid process for the PBM contract. In addition to CVS, the other bidder was Express Scripts, Inc.

The CalPERS Board of Administration awarded the PBM contract to OptumRx based on the results of its final bid submission.

"The finalists and their bid responses went through a thorough vetting during the review, from their customer service and mail order processes to their pricing and cost-control measures," said CalPERS Board of Administration President Rob Feckner. "OptumRx had the strongest bid submission. We are confident that the company will successfully meet the needs of our members and our staff will work with OptumRx and CVS Caremark to ensure that the transition for our members and physicians will be as smooth as possible."

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This is the first time CalPERS has negotiated and secured contractual agreements before the PBM contract was awarded, and the first time it has negotiated a full five-year PBM contract at one time.

"We placed a lot of emphasis in this solicitation on the company's ability to deal with the increasingly high cost of prescription drugs, and OptumRx presented a very strong proposal," said Priya Mathur, chair of the CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee. "In addition to being concerned about the health and safety of our members, we wanted to ensure the company we selected would be as committed as we are to continually develop strategies to mitigate the impact of those rapidly rising costs on our members."

Contract terms require that the PBM provide drugs of the highest quality and value, based on sound clinical evidence. It also requires transparency and full disclosure of the financial relationships between the PBM and drug manufacturers.

All of the bidders for the PBM contract were evaluated on their strategies for price controls, sustained affordability, pricing, innovation, mail order networks, formularies, drug utilization programs, utilization management, and customer service.

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $291 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.

CSU-ERFA will provide additional information about the change to the new Pharmacy Benefits Manager as it becomes available.

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Beginning May 16, 2016 CSU-ERFA Headquarters office hours will be from 9 AM to 3 PM Pacific Time, Monday through Thursday.  Voicemail messages may be left outside regular office hours.

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REMINDER - re CalPERS Health Plan statements and open enrollment information.

CalPERS Health Plan statements and open enrollment information is going online.  You should have received a notice from CalPERS informing you that starting later this year (August 22, 2016) your annual health plan statement and open enrollment information for the coming year (2017) will be available online through your my|CalPERS account.

Your health plan statement and open enrollment information will no longer be sent to you by U.S. Mail unless you specifically notify CalPERS that you want to continue receiving by mail no later than July 1, 2016.

You can provide such notification by returning the postcard that comes with the notice by July 1, 2016, or by calling CalPERS at 1-888-225-7377, or by logging into my.calpers.ca.gov and selecting the Profile Tab option, then selecting Mailing Preference.

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Harold Goldwhite (Los Angeles) has been selected to succeed Don Cameron as Executive Director of CSU-ERFA. Goldwhite's selection was confirmed by acclamation at the April 23rd State Council Meeting in San Jose. He will begin a two-year on July 1, 2016 succeeding Don Cameron who has been serving as Interim Executive Director since July 1, 2015.

Goldwhite previously has served as Chair of the Chemistry Department at CSU Los Angeles, Chair of the CSU Los Angeles Academic Senate, Chair of the statewide CSU Academic Senate, Director of the CSU Institute of Teaching and Learning, and Faculty Trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees among other positions.

As Executive Director, Goldwhite will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of CSU-ERFA.

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March 2016

One of the problems of retirement is that it gives you more time to read about the problems of retirement. ~Author unknown.
 

 


The following is from a CalPERS news release that was received today (March 31, 2016).

CalPERS Issues Fraud Alert for Riverside County Members

Recent reports of individuals posing as CalPERS employees

SACRAMENTO, CA – Members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) living in Riverside County, California, have recently reported that individuals posing as CalPERS employees are attempting to engage with members at their place of residence. This is to alert CalPERS members in the Riverside County area to be cautious and to prevent them from being victimized.

 
CalPERS members in the City of Corona in Riverside County reported to CalPERS that a well-dressed male approached their place of residence and indicated that he wanted to discuss member discounts that are now available to them.  The members were presented with information on a clipboard that accompanied an envelope that is marked with a CalPERS logo and a form of an employee badge.

 
It is important for members in Riverside County to know that CalPERS does not contact members by going door-to-door. CalPERS members are advised to be cautious if they are contacted by any door-to-door individual and that they should get any identifying information, vehicles, business cards, names, etc., of the person representing themselves as CalPERS employees/representatives, and immediately contact the Riverside Police Department and notify CalPERS at 1-888-CalPERS (225-7377).

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CSU-ERFA President William Blischke has asked that we post the following letter from George Diehr, current CSU-ERFA Executive Board Member, and former CalPERS Trustee.  Please note that neither the CSU-ERFA Executive Committee, nor the CSU-ERFA State Council has had an opportunity to vote on a position regarding the strike.  Thus, our organization remains neutral on this issue.  However, members of CSU-ERFA of course are free to participate in the strike as individuals if they so choose.

Dear CSU-ERFA Colleagues,

As you know, the CSU faculty is preparingto hold
a strike from April 13-15 and 18-19 at all 23 CSU
campuses.  I am supporting this strike for one
reason: the CSU administration needs to return
its focus to the university's raison d'etre:  education.

The disturbing findings and trends I wrote
about in the final years of the 20th century
have continued unabated in the new century.
The proportion of the CSU budget spent on
instruction and faculty compensation has
declined dramatically. In addition, critical
support functions for instruction—academic
support—have also not enjoyed the increases
afforded other support activities.

In 1999/2000, the CSU spent $2,689 million, of
which $1,250.8 million was spent on instruction:
46.5%. Sixteen years later, total expenditures had
increased 90% to $5,113.9 million, but instruction
had increased by only 84.2%, falling to 45.1% of
the total. While a 1.4 percentage point decline
might not seem like a lot, $71 million—it is more
than CFA seeks in order to provide a 5%, instead
of 2%, salary increase.

Even more shocking is how spending on faculty
compensation declined as a percentage of total
employee compensation. In 2000/01, 53.9% of total
compensation cost was spent on faculty; by
2016/17, the faculty percentage had declined
to 49.7%. To restore the faculty compensation
cost to 2000/01 proportions would require an
increase of 18.5%!  CFA is asking for only 3%
above the administration's offer.

For further analysis of the impact of California
State University administration’s priorities and
decisions on CSU faculty, students and public
higher education, take a look at the “Race to
the Bottom” series released in 2015: http://www.calfac.org/race-to-the-bottom

The bottom line is that the quality of our
students’ education depends on its faculty,
yet in the CSU, the faculty has been left
behind while other functions have enjoyed
the majority of funding increases. CFA’s
bargaining for a 5% salary increase is not
only justified but is really quite modest in
light of the statistics cited above.

CSU retired faculty spent our professional lives
helping to build a strong public university system
for our students.  Now we need to protect our
university by standing with our active colleagues
in their fight for 5%.  Show your support by
walking a picket line, distributing information
to colleagues, writing letters to CSU trustees
and officials, legislators, and/or the governor.

Please join me in pledging your support:  http://www.calfac.org/post/commit-strike

George Diehr

Emeritus Professor Management
Science, CSUSM
Member, CSU-ERFA Executive Committee
Former Trustee, CalPERS Board of Administration

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CalPERS Health Plan statements and open enrollment information is going online.  If you have not already received it, you soon will receive a notice from CalPERS informing you that starting later this year (August 22, 2016) your annual health plan statement and open enrollment information for the coming year (2017) will be available online through your my|CalPERS account.

Your health plan statement and open enrollment information will no longer be sent to you by U.S. Mail unless you specifically notify CalPERS that you want to continue receiving by mail.

You can provide such notification by returning the postcard that comes with the notice by July 1, 2016, or by calling CalPERS at 1-888-225-7377, or by logging into my.calpers.ca.gov and selecting the Profile Tab option, then selecting Mailing Preference.

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We have received the very sad news that CSU-ERFA Past President Milt Dobkin passed away on March 10, 2016.

Milt Dobkin served as the second president of CSU-ERFA from 1989 through 1994.  Along with Sid Albert, Jack Byrom, Len Mathy, and Emmett Long, he was part of the small group that was the driving force behind the growth of CSU-ERFA in its first decade.  Following his service as President and Past-President he served on the CSU-ERFA Executive Committee as Chair of the Health Benefits Committee for many years.  In this capacity he ably represented the health benefit concerns of CSU retirees before CalPERS committees and other government agencies.

He attended meetings of the CSU-ERFA State Council well into his 90s, offering the Association wise council on issues of importance to its members.

In addition to his service to CSU-ERFA, Milt was active in the California Faculty Association, served as Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Humboldt, served as acting President at Humboldt, and also held positions in the Chancellor's Office.

As a person, Milt was legendary for his kindness and grace.  He served as mentor to many throughout the CSU, and he will be missed.

Update: The memorial service for Milt Dobkin is scheduled to be held on April 9th from noon to 3 PM at the Baywood Country Club, 3600 Buttermilk Lane, Arcata, CA.

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CalPERS has announced the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for 2016.  Owing to the low rate of inflation (0.12%) in 2015, those CSU employees who retired in 2006 or later will receive no COLA.  CSU employees who retired in 2005 will receive a 1.555% COLA.  Those who retired in 2004 and earlier will receive a 2% COLA.

Editor's note: the rules for computing COLA is somewhat complicated.  A full discussion is available on the CalPERS website.  Basically if the inflation rate is between 1 and 2% in a given year, the following year's COLA is equal to that percentage plus any carry-forward from previous years up to a maximum of 2%.

If the inflation rate in a given year exceeds 2%, the COLA for the following year is limited to 2%.  The excess is then carried forward, and can be applied in years when the previous year's inflation rate was less than 2%.  That is the reason why those who retired in 2004 or earlier, will receive a 2% COLA this year, and those who retired in 2005 will receive a 1.555% COLA.  Last year's 0.12% inflation rate will be carried forward, and may be added into a later year's COLA.

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February 2016

Q. How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Only one, but it might take him or her two or three days. ~Author unknown.

The March 2016 issue of the CSU-ERFA newsletter the Reporter is now available online.  This issue contains a number of articles of interest to CSU-ERFA members and other CSU retirees.

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The CSU-ERFA Grant Awards Committee has recommended and the CSU-ERFA Executive Committee has approved five grant awards for the 2015-16 cycle.  The recipients were:

Mary B. White (San Jose), who was awarded $1250 to support her project "Documentation of California Glass History 1950 to 2015."

Laurence D. Houlgate (San Luis Obispo), who was awarded $1150 to support his project "Philosophy, Family and Law: A New Introduction to Legal Philosophy."

David R. Maciel (Dominguez Hills), who was awarded $1100 to support his project "Tin Tan - Mexico's Early Post-modern Cross-cultural Icon."

David R. Stronck (East Bay), who was awarded $1000 to support his project "Measuring, Monitoring and Analyzing the Growth of Trees in Reforesting 10,000 Acres of Southern Alameda County."

Herbert Arthur DeKleine (San Luis Obispo), who was awarded $500 to support his project "Techniques for Clonal Propagation of Hardwood Trees."

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January 2016


Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.  ~Herbert Asquith


The Sacramento Bee reported today (January 18, 2016) that the initiative sponsored by former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio to drastically alter the California public employee pension system has failed to make the November 2016 ballot.  The initiative sponsors cited a lack of financial support for the failed effort.

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